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Receptive to the world


Maksaens Denis is nomadic as long as his images remain immobile. He films and photographs the silence of landscapes, the energy of dancers, the aesthetics of performers, the testimonies of anonymous people he met in Haiti, where he was born, Cuba, South Africa, Senegal...

These images come to life during performances that can last two hours or two nights when he delivers from his computers video montages made from his photos recomposed, saturated, and modified by effects of fluidity, texture, and matter as much as by ethnic symbols, rituals, or words. The creation takes shape in the sensory experience of the spectator who enters the visual and sound space of the work.


Trained in audiovisual reporting in Paris, then director-editor for French television stations for fifteen years, it is with the alternative techno rave scene of the 1990s that Maksaens Denis develops - as a precursor - his visual experiments. The work is collective and the experimentation permanent. The level tends towards fusion when the mix between music, images and public is found to work, to be in phase.

But the "musical chaos of the techno nation" is running out of steam, and at the dawn of the new millennium, Maksaens Denis seizes the opportunity offered by the AfricAmericA foundation to realize a personal exhibition in Canada.

Tragédie tropicale

Video installation, barbed wire

soundtrack, LeRobot


He then opens his drawers filled with images taken over the years. Thousands of images that, once mounted, challenge and hypnotize. A figurative language where the randomness takes up this experimental and liberating data of contemporary music, of "explosive-fixe" developed since the 1970s by the French composer Pierre Boulez.

In Boulez's work, symphonic instruments are combined with electronic variations. The musical interpretation seeks to receive the aleatoric, detaching itself each time more

from the original piece. For Maksaens Denis - sensitized to music by his mother, a pianist, and Mozartian -, "music frees the unconscious part of the image".

This is the case of Mutation X0 (since 2006) which evolves with each performance, when it mixes live choreography of images projected on several screens with improvised sound with the complicity of dancers wearing the traditional wings and bugle blowers of the carnival of the small town of Jacmel, in the southeast of Haiti.


Taken out of context, the Mathurin wings are surprisingly reminiscent of Mephisto's wings drawn by Eugene Delacroix for Goethe's Faust (late 19th century). The ambiguity is also found in this accessory which crosses the dancer between angel and demon.


In these multimedia installations, Maksaens Denis choreographs the space in order to make the polarities of the world feel and vibrate differently. Like when Haiti was exposed to the world's media in the turmoil of the earthquake. 

Laurence d'Ist

art historian

Text published in the catalog of the exhibition Authentik Energie, 2014

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